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Communicating Bad News 

Communicating Bad News
Communicating Bad News

Meaghann S. Weaver

and Michaela Ibach

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date: 30 March 2020

This chapter examines several strategies for conveying bad or challenging health-related news in a variety of situations. Principles discussed in this chapter are applicable to healthcare workers across all disciplines but are especially useful for palliative care providers and those working in humanitarian crises or emergencies. The SPIKES protocol and the Ask-Tell-Ask method communication tools are reviewed in detail with both positive and negative examples provided to aid the reader in application. Recommendations for setting up a family meeting, exploring patients’ goals, arranging follow-up, and responding to emotion are also included.

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